Equestrian is making gradual progress in India. Late Wing Commander IJ Lamba (Atlanta 1996) and Imtiaz Anees (Sydney 2000) were the first two Indians to represent India at the Olympics in equestrian events.
Their legacy is now being taken forward by Fouaad Mirza who has the chance to become the first Indian in nearly 20 years to compete in Equestrian at the Olympics. Mirza finished in the top spot in Group G for South East Asia, Oceania in the individual eventing category to earn a quota place for Tokyo 2020.
However, confirmation on his berth is expected to be announced by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) in due course.
Equestrian definitely is catching on in the country with Nagaland-based Kekhriesilie Rio the latest to make a name for himself in show jumping.
Rio has been ranked World No.2 in the world in (Category A) in equestrian show jumping, according to the rankings released by the FEI for 2020, making him the first Indian to rank as highly in the annual list.
So, who is the 20-year-old and what do we know about him?
Introduction to the sport
Rio developed a keen interest in horse riding and took to the sport at the age of eight in his school - The Assam Valley. He chose horse riding as a sport in school for its novelty and because he always had a soft spot for animal care.
His interest in the sport grew with time as Rio started believing that he could do something significant in it.
He hails from Touphema, a village in the Kohima district and is gearing up to take on the world in show jumping.
Rio clinched several medals at school level but it was his triumph in the show jumping event in the national capital that gave him the confidence to pursue the sport.
He is the first athlete from the North East of India to win the national equestrian event. Last year, in December, he won the FEI World Jumping Championship 2020 (South Zone) in Category A in Bengaluru.
Rio initially started his training under Nitin Gupta in New Delhi. Gupta is one of the finest show jumping coaches in the country as he has won the show jumping challenge in 2017, held in Algeria. Gupta has also won the senior nationals in Kolkata.
Rio dreams of representing India at the Asian Games and Olympics in the near future.